Jewish Labour politician Ruth Smeeth forced to carry panic button to stay safe

Jewish Labour politician Ruth Smeeth forced to carry panic button to stay safe

But the Labour hopeful standing in Stoke-on-Trent North insists she 'won’t be bullied by anyone' despite death threats

Ruth Smeeth
Ruth Smeeth

Labour’s candidate for Stoke-on-Trent North has revealed she carries a panic button in her pocket and does not use public transport by herself due to death threats.

Speaking to Stoke on Trent Live, Ruth Smeeth, 40, alleged a death threat was sent to her constituency office last week – the latest in a series of incidents targeting her over the years.

Staffordshire Police told the regional it is investigating a report of a “malicious communication being sent to a local MP last Thursday.”

“As with every election the police’s role is to prevent and detect crime and enable the democratic process to take place unhindered,” a spokesperson for the force said.

Smeeth told the local paper she received her first death threat in 2014 after being selected as a candidate for the seat and that she has gotten more since. She added they stemmed from elements of both the far-left and the far-right, with nearly half antisemitic in nature. 

According to the article, Smeeth relocated to Stoke-on-Trent in 2016, where security measures have multiplied in her home, because police felt she could not be adequately protected in the capital.

Smeeth also revealed police ranked her among among the top 10 MPs most likely to be targeted – something she felt was linked to her being a Jewish woman.

“My house is a fortress, my office is a fortress. I’ve got panic buttons in my house, I carry one in my pocket. I have to live in an environment that no-one should have to live in,” she told the newspaper.

But the candidate insisted she “won’t be bullied by anyone,” adding: “We need to find a way back to respectfully disagreeing with each other, not threatening to hurt each other.”

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